Republican county executive candidate Robin Ficker said Tuesday he was notified by the Montgomery County attorney’s office that he qualified for matching funds under the county’s public campaign finance system.
Ficker, an attorney from Boyds, shared an email with Bethesda Beat from associate county attorney Taggart Hutchinson that said his campaign was certified Tuesday morning by the State Board of Elections to receive matching funds and he will receive an initial disbursement of $231,185.
Ficker filed a lawsuit in June in Montgomery County Circuit Court contesting the board’s initial decision to not certify him for public matching funds. Ficker has maintained since mid-May that he reached the threshold of raising $40,000 in contributions of $150 or less from at least 500 county residents before the May 15 deadline. He said he raised about $48,000 in qualifying contributions.
Hutchison confirmed Tuesday afternoon the email Ficker shared was accurate.
Ficker said he would receive the funds once he provides his bank information to the county.
“I’m quite sure if I didn’t file the lawsuit we wouldn’t have been successful in getting the matching funds,” Ficker said. “We’ll use [the money] to get the word out about our campaign, which is going to be a winning campaign.”
Ficker said he will dismiss the lawsuit once the funds are transferred to his campaign back account.
Ficker ran unopposed in the Republican primary. He faces either County Council member Marc Elrich or businessman David Blair in the general election depending on the outcome of the ongoing ballot count that will decide the Democratic primary. The final results are expected to be released at the end of the week. A third candidate—at-large County Council member Nancy Floreen—filed Monday with the county Board of Elections to run as an independent.
Ficker previously ran for county executive in 2006, as an independent, and finished third in the race with about 9 percent of the vote. Since then he has lost five other local races for elected office. Ficker’s one victory since he first started running for office in the 1970s was in 1978 when he won a District 15 House of Delegates seat.
Ficker has had better luck spearheading petition drives for charter amendments. He led the effort to establish term limits in the county, which voters overwhelmingly approved in 2016. And he also helped pass a 2008 property tax charter amendment that prevents the council from raising taxes significantly without a unanimous vote of its nine members.